AREQUIPA AND THE COLCA CANYON

This three day trip will take you to enjoy one of the greatest cities in Peru, guarded by not one, but three dramatic volcanoes. Voted in 2000 by UNESCO as a world heritage site, Arequipa’s architecture is an ensemble of baroque-mestizo buildings grafted out of local white sillar rock. You will also have the chance to visit Colca the second-deepest canyon in the world to see breathtaking rock formations, stunning flora and fauna as well as mighty condors, the world´s largest flying birds, doing their ritualistic sweep around the rim every morning. An excursion to this region is one of the most memorable attractions in southern Peru bursting with history, culture and tradition.

 


TOUR CATEGORY
  • Cultural
  • Nature

LOCATION
  • Arequipa
  • Colca Canyon

ACTIVITY LEVEL
  • Easy

DURATION
  • 3 days / 2 nights

WHEN TO GO
  • Year round

AREQUIPA

  • Wander around one of most important cities of Peru
  • Take in the beautiful colonial houses
  • Enter Santa Catalina Monastery and step back 400 years in time into a walled city within a city.
  • Journey into the past visiting the museum of the Inca maiden, Juanita, and learn about her dramatic story.
  • Taste some of the most distinguished cuisine of Peru and dare yourself to try the spicy fare in the local “Picanterias”.

COLCA CANYON

  • Wander through a region that boasts a dramatic and colorful landscape sprinkled with charming colonial and ancestral villages.
  • Bask in the medicinal hot springs
  • Watch the majestic condors as they soar around the snowcapped mountains of the Andes.

DAY 01 AREQUIPA

Standing at the foot of El Misti Volcano and brimming with colonial Spanish charm, take the opportunity to walk the most important parts of the city accompanied by your private guide. Founded in 1540, Arequipa vies with Cuzco for the title of Peru’s most attractive city, and retains an elegant historic center constructed almost entirely out of a pale volcanic rock called sillar. Old buildings dazzle in the sun, giving the city its nickname of the ‘White City’. The main plaza, with its cafes and nearby cathedral, is a lovely place to while away the day.   A visit to the Monasterio de Santa Catalina is a must for a glimpse into a bygone way of life. When the convent was built in the 16th century it was traditional for the second son or daughter of a family to enter the religious service. Santa Catalina accepted only women from high-class Spanish families, with each family paying a hefty dowry for her acceptance. But life inside the convent was far from modest – each nun had between one and four servants. Many brought rugs, fine china and silk curtains, and they often held parties.   A visit to Arequipa is never complete without a visit to see the mummy of the teenage Inca maiden, now christened Juanita. Learn the story of one of the most important archeological finds of the recent decades in the museum.

Return to the hotel.

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DAY 02 AREQUIPA - CHIVAY

Breakfast

After an early breakfast and pick up from your hotel, we depart from Arequipa heading northwest following a paved road, which will lead us to Colca Canyon.   Going round the Chachani volcano, head towards the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve where you will be able to stop and take pictures of wild llamas, alpacas and vicuñas while learning how to identify the differences between all of them.   After a stop at the Tocra swamps where you will see a flamingo, Andean geese, ducks, Andean eagle “Kara Kara” we get to take in the crater of Chucura, an extinct volcano. After, we continue ascending a dirt road to the highest point of the trip, Patapampa (4800 meters-15000 feet), where the  view of the volcanoes Ubinas, Mismi, Misti, Chachani, Sabancaya (which is still active) and Ampato is simply magnificent.   The journey then continues downhill to the main village of  Colca Canyon, the village of Chivay.   The Incan and pre-Incan terraces that are carved into the walls are still cultivated today and traditional Indian villages are dotted throughout the canyon.   Time for lunch.   Transfer to your lodging.   We strive to lodge our clients in hotels which own their own hot spring pools, but should this not be possible, later in the afternoon you will be able to visit Calera hot springs (35ºC/95ºF), to enjoy a relaxing bath in their large thermal pools surrounded by huge mountains.  Walking around the town experiencing the local life is a good idea before having dinner with a traditional Peruvian musical performance.

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DAY 03 CHIVAY - CRUZ DEL CONDOR - CHIVAY - AREQUIPA (OR PUNO)

Breakfast

The main star of the canyon is not the amazing scenery but the magnificent Andean condor. To fully appreciate this majestic bird, an early start is necessary. After a two hour ride along the edge of the Canyon having the best view of the Colca Valley, we arrive at a natural lookout point, from where you will be able to see these dignified Andean creatures soaring gracefully on the rising thermal air currents.

On the way back to Chivay we stop in the beautiful local towns of Pinchollo, Maca and Yanque with their beautiful colonial churches, and interact with the kind locals with their typical needlework dresses. From the various observation points along the way, experience a fantastic view of the beautiful pre-Inca terraces which are still used to grow corn, quinua or kiwicha.

After a relaxing lunch in Chivay,  we return to Arequipa, or if you prefer, continue your trip by bus to Puno.

MAKE IT DIFFERENT (OPTIONAL)

Ask our experts about an extension to the Titicaca the highest navigable lake in the World , to the majestic city of Cusco and Machu Picchu, the the enigmatic Amazon or the mysterious Nazca lines.

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